In this series, Newshub Lifestyle editor Sarah Templeton will compare some of the food delivery boxes on the New Zealand market. In this instalment, it's the My Food Bag 'Heat 2 Cook 2' box.
My Food Bag was one of the original big hitters on the Kiwi food delivery box scene. Brought in by ex-Masterchef winner and food queen Nadia Lim, the company has so many variations of boxes on website it's almost boggling.
You have your Classic Bag, Family Bag, Gourmet Bag, 'Fresh Start' Bag (very healthy I warn), My Own Bag (for solo eaters), Express Bag (I guess faster?)... I almost expected a Sarah Templeton Bag to be on the list of options.
This week, I decided to try one of the most intriguing options - the Heat 2 Cook 2 Bag. Sounds like the name of a boy band or a Fast and Furious sequel, but it's actually a box with a very intriguing twist: there are two meals to cook at home from scratch, and two readymade meals you just bang in the oven to heat up.
This is genius for many reasons. The most obvious one is that cooking is very tiring, and we all have other shit to do - gym classes, drinks with friends, season two of The Sinner to watch (man how weird is that kid?).
Sometimes, you really, really don't feel like cooking, but don't want the added MSG of takeaways giving you a brain tumour.
Enter the readymade meals that make up the 'Heat 2' of this box. For me, that meant a chicken tikka masala along with a beef and red wine shepard's pie. Both were yummy, contained no nasties, and meant I could just heat and serve dinner in the time it would usually take me to grate and chop a carrot.
But for when you're in the mood to crack a shiraz, put on a true crime podcast and get into the kitchen, there's also the classic format of recipes and ingredients.
Cooking the meals themselves was obviously a little harder. The recipe for a Bang Bang Chicken Salad was slightly overwhelming, with all the ingredients split into separate components - meaning something as simple as rice turns into a four ingredient list (like who's leaving out water, ffs).
I ended up just panicking and cooking the rice the way Mama Debs taught me when I was 11, which worked out fine and stopped me feeling quite so overwhelmed.
Another con, I would say, is that My Food Bag assumes you have a lot of kitchen bits. Sweet chilli sauce for example. Dijon mustard. All things it would never occur to me get at the supermarket. Coconut yogurt? I'm your girl. Sesame oil? Where do you even find that?
But I improvised, meaning the meals were edible, if a little compromised on flavour.
Overall, I'm a big fan of this food box - the Moroccan lamb flatbreads were easy and delicious to throw together for a quick dinner, the tikka masala obviously quicker. It was all fresh and yummy, and they've really thought about their target market - millennials.
Take them for lunches, whip them up for your boyfriend or friends... it's as flexible as you are (not literally - I genuinely can't even bend over without getting cramp).